Morning Fizz

Illegal Behavior

By Morning Fizz September 22, 2010

1. EMC Research, a local polling firm, is reportedly doing a new poll about the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement. The poll asks respondents' opinion of the proposed deep-bore tunnel, a viaduct rebuild, and the I-5/surface/transit option.

The poll concluded by directing respondents to the state department of transportation's web site. EMC did not immediately respond to a request for information about the questions included in the poll and who was funding it.

2. Follow-up to yesterday's top story in the Murray vs. Rossi race. First, a quick recap: The GOP derailed a vote on the defense budget yesterday with a fillibuster because the bill included an amendment to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell." (Murray supported the repeal, Rossi wants to wait for a Pentagon study on the issue.)

Follow-up #1: Rossi's campaign tells PubliCola that Rossi would have supported Sen. Murray's own amendment to the defense budget that said unfair competitive advantages should be a black mark against companies bidding for the Pentagon's new air tanker contract. (The WTO, of course, recently ruled that Airbus got illegal government subsidies to build the plane it has in competition for the contract.)

"Yes.  He would bave supported the Murray-Brownback amendment," Rossi spokeswoman Jennifer Morris said. (Hyper conservative Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback co-sponsored the amendment with Murray. There's a huge Boeing plant in Wichita if you're wondering.)

Follow-up #2: The "Don't Ask Don't Tell" amendment wasn't Rossi's main gripe with the bill. Rossi would have voted against bringing the defense appropriations bill to the floor yesterday, his campaign says, because of a separate amendment (one that Murray also supports)—the Dream Act. The Dream Act would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. (About 850,000 people would benefit from the provision.)

"[Rossi was a] 'No' on cloture for defense," Morris tells PubliCola, "because Sen. Murray and others intended to use this must-pass troop funding bill as a means to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants, instead of to ensure our men and women in the field have the funding they need to complete their mission."

She concludes: "It rewards illegal behavior, and it's unrelated to troop funding."

(You can meet Morris at PubliCola's NerdHour, next Tuesday after work, September 28, at the Five Point Cafe at Denny and Cedar.)

3. The second daily Amtrak train to Vancouver, B.C. could vanish, thanks to a decision by the Canadian government to impose a new border-tariff fee on that train amounting to about $550,000 a year. Both trains to Vancouver carry about 100 passengers a day.

In an editorial on its blog, the Transportation Choices Coalition called the second train "a critical economic, cultural, and transportation link between Seattle and Vancouver" that "provides an important transportation option for BC, Washington, and international travelers" and brings tourism and business dollars into Canada.

4. Ryan Bayne, formerly with the Downtown Seattle Association, who recently started a political consulting firm with former Deputy Mayor Tim Cies, was at City Hall yesterday afternoon advocating on behalf of phone-book companies.

City Council member Mike O'Brien has proposed legislation that would make it easier for Seattle residents to "opt out" of receiving phone books. O’Brien’s legislation would require all phone book companies to get a license to distribute yellow pages and register with the city and it would impose a fee for phone companies to retrieve unwanted phone books from resident. It  would also create a citywide registry of residents who don’t want to receive phone books, and would create penalties (in addition to recovery fees) on companies that ignore the opt-out list.

Bayne wouldn't say whether the phone-book companies (which don't like the legislation) had reached a compromise with O'Brien.

5. Speaking of lobbying the city. Former Nick Licata campaign manager, Andrew Lewis—a junior at the U.W.—is lobbying against the city council's recent move to increase the commercial parking tax. (Licata voted for it.)

Lewis is head lobbyist for the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW). The U.W. doesn't like the tax increase because they think it will discourage people from using the U.W.'s parking facilities and that money goes to fund student transit services like the U. Pass. (Of course, the counter argument is that it will bring in more money.)
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